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Originally published Friday, May 17, 2013 at 9:30 AM

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Queen Anne Hill's sturdy pioneers were built to last

Paul Dorpat concludes that the photo was recorded sometime before 1912, when the streets were paved, and after 1905-06, the years the houses were built.

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FOR THOSE who pay attention to credits and have been following this feature for a few years, Lawton Gowey is a familiar name. This is another of the probably hundreds of historical subjects that he has shared with Pacific NW magazine readers, because he shared them with me.

Here we look northeast through the intersection of Crockett Street and Seventh Avenue West on Queen Anne Hill. The photo was recorded sometime before 1912, when these streets were paved, and after 1905-06, the years the houses were built facing Seventh. Archivist Phil Stairs at the Puget Sound Regional Archive checked their tax cards for remodels and concluded, "You could say that there was an enterprising asbestos salesman in the neighborhood in 1957." That year, two of the four were wrapped in that baleful blanket.

By then, Gowey was in his third year as both organist and director of the senior choir at Bethany Presbyterian Church on top of the hill. Gowey, an accountant for the Seattle Water Department, lived all his life on Queen Anne, and he knew its history, especially that side of it having to do with, "From here to there — land transportation." That's the title he used for a lecture on Seattle's trolleys he gave in 1962 at the Museum of History & Industry.

I met Gowey in 1981, but our friendship was a regrettably brief one. On a late Sunday morning in the winter of 1983 while preparing for church, the 61-year-old organist's heart stopped. He left Jean, his wife, daughters Linda and Marcia, his father, Clarence, scores of rail fans and his collection of trolley photos and ephemera, which Jean directed to the University of Washington Library's Special Collections.

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at

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